Someone’s Been Living in an Alternate Reality Again

Ho, hum, another day, another dumbfuck claiming atheists have no basis for morality. I see Avi’s given them a right proper fisking. Good thing he’s a good writer, because this shallow shite’s points look like they came off an apologetics-for-assclowns site. Oh, my heck, does our Avi have patience. I’d’ve chucked this garbage in the trash after the first paragraph. This is just so century before last – ooo, what’s this? [Read more…]

Ron Lindsay’s Extraordinary Bullshit Part III: A Fine Fuck You

Dear CfI Board of Directors:

I’ve spent the day attempting to determine what I could compare your moral courage to. However, each and every candidate has turned out to have more moral courage than you, up to and including John McCain and William Dembski. Even Enron showed more sense. I’ve seen corporations deny responsibility. I’ve seen not-pologies that require a dictionary of corporate-speak to decipher. I’ve seen organizations run from mistakes. But this is the first time I have ever witnessed a statement written by people too oblivious to even mention what interested parties told them repeatedly had caused distress, and then have the audacity to blame the injured parties for the injury dealt them. That’s private-health-insurance-quality fuckery, that. [Read more…]

Hey, Richard Dawkins! Women Aren’t Invisible

So stop treating us like we are.

Really, you only seem to notice women when you can use them to conveniently bludgeon religions. You’re super-concerned about how women are treated in the Muslim world because Islam. You call the Judeo-Christian god a “misogynistic…bully,” because hey, great point of attack, amirite? So women might get the idea you’re on their side, but when it counts, when we’re fighting against sexism and misogyny in the atheist community, you “Dear Muslima” us. When it comes to abortion rights, you’re more for pigs and parasites than you are women. You don’t see us, actual human beings with fundamental rights to bodily autonomy and respect. You see a rhetorical device. And you don’t even seem to be aware you’re doing it. I hope you’re not. I hope you’re not the kind of man who would deliberately erase a woman from the picture. But unintententional or no, that’s precisely what you’re doing.

How the religious right (and, later in pregnancy, Richard Dawkins) view pregnant women. All they can see is a fetus.

How the religious right (and, later in pregnancy, people like Richard Dawkins) view pregnant women. All they can see is a fetus.

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Los Links: I Laughed, I Cried, They Became a Part of Me

Some of you will remember Los Links from back in the day when I could spend two days out of every week reading blogs, and then share the linky goodness with you. Life’s been too busy for a while for that, unfortunately. It should have been too busy tonight, but my brain said, “You know what? Fuck you. I’ve been thinking all day.” War at work, y’see: fighting to make things the best they can possibly be at an American megacorporation. It’s fun, and fulfilling, but taxing.

Thankfully, I had posts written (longhand) in advance, but my wrists said, “You know what? Fuck you. We’ve been typing most of the day.” So today ended with me lying about catching up on some freethought reading. If this continues tomorrow, I can bring you a roundup of recent geology posts. I suppose that won’t be so bad, now, will it? And then, on Wednesday, you will be guaranteed an original post of near-epic proportions, because we’re going to talk about why Mount St. Helens melted some bits but not all the bits on the cars. If we’re very fortunate, we’ll end up on Boing Boing again (thank you, Maggie Koerth-Baker!). I say we, because I wouldn’t have written up cars if it hadn’t been for you lot liking things like that, and as it turns out, you’re not the only ones. So, thank you, my darlings!

It’s not all happy fun times, alas. The thing with frequenting the freethought and skeptic blogs that I do is that Things That Are Not Happy get discussed, and if it weren’t for the bloggers and commenters restoring my hope for humanity, I’d have crawled off to a cave and become an official misanthrope by now. Between all of you, though, I am not willing to declare the vast majority of human kind irredeemable arseholes. Only a subset of it. Sigh.

There will be a humorous intermission, and loving comfort at the end. Stay with me. [Read more…]

Here’s What I Don’t Want to Do At Conferences

I’ve been seeing, in various and sundry threads on the matter, a lot of people babbling nonsense like, “Just report harassment to security and/or the police! And if they don’t take you seriously, look for someone who will!” This is their brilliant solution to the harassment problem. No policy needed! There’s cops and security guards. Problem solved!

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How Not to Handle Harassment

D.J. Grothe, president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, has a disaster on his hands. It didn’t have to be. There is a sentence he could have said at the very beginning, when folks were talking about the need for good, solid harassment policies at conventions and conferences. He could have said, “JREF takes harassment very seriously, and we will ensure a strong policy is in place to ensure speakers and guests are safe at TAM.” Then all he needed to do was to make sure an excellent policy was prominently posted, complete with reporting and enforcement procedures. Had he done so, two prominent women in the skeptical movement would not have withdrawn from TAM due to issues with his handling of harassment and threats.

This was never about TAM until he chose a different route. He chose to make it all about TAM. Those who already know the sordid history can skip this next bit, unless they wish to see D.J.’s spectacular fuck-up once again.

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I Do Not Trust Edwina Rogers to Represent Our Interests

I’ve sat out the Edwina Rogers fiasco since the Secular Coalition of America announced they’d chosen her as their new Executive Director, waiting to see if my initial revulsion would pass. It hasn’t. I read the transcript of the interview she did with Greta Christina, and the entirety of her Ask Me Anything on Reddit, hoping she could somehow allay our fears and prove she’s capable of representing us effectively, despite her sordid history in Republican politics. But I didn’t have high hopes. Put it this way: I’ve learnt over the last decade that when one trusts Cons not to kick them in the teeth, they’d best have an excellent oral surgeon on speed dial.

Edwina’s managed to meet expectations: she outright lies, she avoids the hardest questions, she babbles nonsense in reply to most of the questions she deigns respond to without bald-faced lies. She is exactly what I suspected she was when I heard some absolute morons had chosen a Republican operative neck-deep in the Bush administration, yammered on Faux News, and who has donated generously to Rick bleeding Perry, to become executive director of the Secular Coalition of America: an unmitigated disaster.

Not all atheists are liberals, and I suppose it could be a good idea to get some secular conservatives on board at times – if they don’t end up compromising the values held by the vast majority of us. As several people have noted, a Republican lobbyist as part (not head) of the SCA isn’t such a horrible idea. And I rather think it would be nice to give the Rabid Right something to worry about from within its own ranks, so the idea of developing a coalition of secular Republicans and siccing them on the fundies actually tickles me. So no, I have no objection per se to having a Republican working with the SCA.

But surely, surely, the SCA could have chosen a better Executive Director than this Bushie. She can’t reach across the aisle to elected Republicans – the bunch currently in office here, there and everywhere are, overwhelmingly, theocratic freaks frantic to install god as our ruler. They’ve already demonstrated that they’ll abandon their own policies if a liberal expresses approval. And I cannot dismiss the fact that she actively supports some of the worst of them.

Not to mention she thinks she can pull a fast one on skeptics by outright lying to them, thus demonstrating a spectacular inability to understand the people she’s supposed to represent.

What good is she? How can she possibly represent our interests?

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This Isn’t A Review of Victor Stenger’s New Book

God and the Folly of Faith. Cover Art credit Prometheus Books.

I’d actually like to do that book justice. I’ve read it. I’m still digesting it. I can tell you my foremost thought whilst reading it: “Damnit, Victor, I’m a geologist, not a physicist!” It’s been a long time since I’ve read up on physics. The middle chapters, in which he drills down pretty deeply into physics, put my brain through the kind of workout that still leaves you wobbly days later.

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He’s a Sexist AND a Sockpuppet!

Why, this is adorable!

This comment appeared today on my open letter to Nature regarding that loathsome bit of sexist dumbfuckery known as “Womanspace.” It’s under the handle “Disappointed.” Observe how it appears to be a supporter of the author:

Amazing: someone writes something whimsical, which pokes fun at middle-aged men, and suddenly it becomes about stereotyping women?  Really??  You don’t think that possibly, just possibly, the author was attempting satire?
Ah, well – turns out I like the other two stories held up as being “problematic”, over on Contemplative Mammoth.  That HAS to label me, too.

Actually, Ed, it’s your comment’s metadata that labels you – as the bloody stupid author hisownself.

Sock puppets aren’t loved round these parts. But I’m loving it. I’m loving the fact you couldn’t come right out and defend your own story, but felt you had to drum up “outside” support. It’s precious.

And now I will turn you over to the tender mercies of my readers and my fellow Freethought Bloggers, who shall now do what they will.

Have fun, my darlings. No need to be gentle. He is, after all, wearing a sock.

Dear Nature: There is a Crucial Difference Between Being Contentious and Being a Misogynistic Asshole

Update: Bonus fun! “Womanspace” author Ed Rybicki has appeared in the comments, trying to sockpuppet himself some support under the handle “Disappointed.” Be sure to take this opportunity to speak your mind directly to the responsible party. Enjoy, everyone!

You may wonder what I’m doing here with a can of kerosene in one hand and a match in the other. Why, I’m about to burn a bridge.

Writers are typically advised against doing so, as the person you’re pissed at today may have been the person who’d publish you tomorrow. And yes, it would have been nice to be published alongside our own Stephanie Zvan someday, as I’d figured any publication wise enough to choose one of her stories might prove an attractive market for my own fiction, should I be fortunate enough to make the cut. However, there’s the matter of the other company I’d be keeping. I refer, of course, to the wretchedly sexist story “Womanspace” that appeared in your formerly-august pages in September. No, I won’t link to it. Interested readers will have no trouble finding it, by way of Dr. Anne Jefferson’s masterful takedown of it.

I gave the story a glance. It’s one of those stories in which a writer masturbates to the tune of exhausted stereotypes, and believes the resulting mass is original simply because it emerged from them, and they haven’t got out much. It contains the kind of overdone sexist humor that tickles the underdeveloped funnybones of men who are too inept to figure out teh wimminz. I understand the author’s wife giggled. I’m certain she did. If she hadn’t learned to laugh at her husband by now, she’d be a divorcee. A laughing spouse, however, is no guarantee of quality, a fact which writers who attempt to publish in professional fiction magazines soon learn to their sorrow.

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